March 26, 2019
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
2015 Simon & Schuster Audio
Read by Joan Walker
Finished on March 19, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
It's been almost four years since I read A Man Called Ove (reviewed here), which I adored and will read again. I wasn't as enamored of Backman's novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, so I was somewhat hesitant to try this novel. It took me several chapters (and I almost gave up) before I finally became engrossed in Elsa's story, but once hooked, I found every opportunity to continue listening, even going out of my way to take longer walks in order to hear one more chapter. I'm so glad I didn't quit, because this turned out to be quite a gem! And, I'm glad to have a copy of the book in print, so I can read it again. Now that I know the story, I think reading the print edition will be less of a challenge. It all felt so confusing at the beginning, but once the pieces fell together, it all made sense.
I wiped away my tears as I listened to the final chapters, remembering a similar feeling when I completed the audio book of The Elegance of the Hedgehog (reviewed here). Backman's poignant tale and lovable characters (particularly, Elsa, who is wise beyond her years) will remain with me for years to come. I look forward to reading his more recent books; next up, Britt-Marie Was Here.